Disney’s ‘Nomadland’ to Bow in Theaters, on Hulu Concurrently

Borrowing a page from Warner Bros., Disney-owned Searchlight Pictures will simultaneously release the modern drama Nomadland, starring Oscar winner Frances McDormand, in theaters and on Hulu beginning Feb. 19.

The film festival favorite features McDormand as a middle age woman who leaves her rural Nevada town following economic collapse in van and sets off on the road exploring a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad. Due to the film’s storyline and five-state shooting locales, Nomadland will debut briefly in select Imax screens, beginning Jan. 29.

While Warner Bros. is releasing its entire 2021 theatrical simultaneously on HBO Max due to the pandemic, Disney is not streaming Nomadland on Disney+, choosing instead Hulu with 38 million subscribers. The longtime SVOD runner-up to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, has upped its profile and subscriber count in recent years with the release of award-winning original content (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) and distribution agreement for edgier fare with Disney-owned FX.

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Last year at the begin of the pandemic, Hulu released indie film Palm Springs in select theaters and on its platform at the same time. Disney has slowly embraced digital-first (i.e. Disney+) distribution for erstwhile theater titles with Onward and Soul as the hamstrung domestic box office continued. It then offered live-action sequel Mulan exclusively on Disney+ for an additional $29.99 access price.

The trend finds Disney opting to move some of its smaller 2021 films to Disney+, including Peter Pan & Wendy, Pinocchio, and Raya and the Last Dragon, while keeping its Marvel tentpole movies Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and Eternals on its theatrical release slate.

“We think Soul, which was released on Disney+ on Christmas Day, likely drove substantial subscription growth for the service,” Michael Pachter with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, wrote in a note.

 

‘Tenet’ Leads Disc Sales in December While ‘Frozen II’ Finishes as Top Seller for 2020

While spending three weeks on top of the U.S. DVD and Blu-ray sales charts was enough for Tenet to become the top-selling title for the month of December, it wasn’t enough to break through onto the year’s top 10 — a list dominated by titles from earlier in the year before the coronavirus pandemic began to impact the release slate.

The top-selling domestic disc of the year, according to the NPD Group’s VideoScan tracking service, was Disney’s Frozen II, which pretty much grabbed the year’s No. 1 spot upon its release at the end of February.

An analysis of the year’s top 10 disc sellers is available here. The titles in the year’s top 10 remained unchanged from November, though Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog climbed a couple spots to finish the year at No. 7 thanks to a sales boost from a year-end Blu-ray re-release.

Meanwhile, Warner’s Tenet was No. 1 during the last month of the year after a Dec. 15 disc release. The latest thriller from director Christopher Nolan had been the subject of much discussion and fan interest during the pandemic, and also didn’t have much else in the way of major new discs in the final weeks of the year. Its underwhelming box office haul, including just $57.9 million in a domestic market severely hampered by theater closures and a virus-wary public, reportedly prompted WarnerMedia to switch its release strategy for the next year to put new movies on HBO Max concurrently with their theatrical releases.

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Warner ended up with six of the top 10 December sellers, a bunch of them being classic Christmas movies. The No. 2 December disc was National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, while No. 4 was Elf, No. 6 was A Christmas Story and No. 7 was The Polar Express. No. 9 was Warner’s eight-film “Harry Potter” collection, which was been a top-seller for most of the last half of the year (it was No. 4 in November).

The only other new release on the December top 10 was Paramount’s Yellowstone: Season 3, a rare instance of a TV-based disc release cracking the top 10.

Rounding out the top five was another holiday favorite, Universal’s 2018 animated adaptation The Grinch, up from No. 2 in November.

The top seller from November, Disney’s live-action Mulan remake, slipped to No. 8 in December.

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According to NPD, the December 2020 top 10 by units sold were:

  1. Tenet (Warner)
  2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Warner)
  3. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  4. Elf (Warner)
  5. The Grinch (Universal)
  6. A Christmas Story (Warner)
  7. The Polar Express (Warner)
  8. Mulan (2020)(Disney)
  9. Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  10. Home Alone (20th Century)

 

2020 Top 10:

  1. Frozen II (Disney)
  2. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney/Lucasfilm)
  3. Joker (Warner)
  4. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony Pictures)
  5. 1917 (Universal)
  6. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
  7. Trolls World Tour (Universal/DreamWorks)
  8. Midway (2019) (Lionsgate)
  9. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (Disney)
  10. Bad Boys for Life (Sony Pictures)

 

November Domestic Disc Sales Crown Goes to Live-Action ‘Mulan’

WGN America Inks First-Ever Carriage Agreement With Hulu

WGN America, the Chicago-based cable TV network owned by Nexstar Media Group, has reached its first-ever multiyear distribution agreement with Disney-owned Hulu + Live TV.

Under the deal, the network’s programming will be carried by the online platform beginning Jan. 19, 2021. The agreement also restores Nexstar’s ABC-affiliated television stations to Hulu + Live TV. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Hulu + Live TV ended its most-recent fiscal period with more than 4 million subscribers, tops among all online TV platforms, and fifth among all pay-TV networks nationwide.

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WGN America has approximately 75 million television households across the United States. WGN America is the home of “NewsNation,” the country’s only live nationwide newscast airing in prime-time nightly.

“We’re looking forward to making our entertainment content and “NewsNation” available to 4 million new subscribers throughout the country,” Sean Compton, president of the networks division of Nexstar, said in a statement.

‘Mulan’ No. 1 Again on Redbox Disc Rental Chart; ‘Unhinged’ Still Atop On Demand Chart

Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan remained in the top spot on Redbox’s disc rental chart the week ended Dec. 6, its third time at No. 1 in the four weeks since it debuted on disc.

Lionsgate’s Unhinged remained at No. 2 on Redbox’s disc rental chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red kiosks, and was again No. 1 on the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital rental transactions.

Also repeating its position from the previous week, as the No. 3 disc rental and No. 2 on the On Demand chart, was the comedy Buddy Games, from Paramount.

The New Mutants, from Disney-owned 20th Century Studios, remained No. 4 on the disc chart but slipped a spot to No. 4 on the digital chart.

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Rounding out the top five disc rentals was new release The Rental, from Shout! Factory, which debuted at No. 5. The horror film directed by Dave Franco focuses on two couples whose vacation spirals out of control when they discover they are being spied on at the seaside retreat they rented.

Other new releases on the disc chart include RLJE Films’ Downrange, a thriller about stranded motorists being fired at by a sniper, at No. 8, and Viva’s animated movie 100% Wolf, about a werewolf who turns into a poodle, at No. 10.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended Dec. 6:

  1. Mulan (2020) — Disney
  2. Unhinged — Lionsgate
  3. Buddy Games — Paramount
  4. The New Mutants — 20th Century
  5. The Rental — Shout! Factory
  6. Iron Mask — Lionsgate
  7. 2067 — RLJ
  8. Downrange — RLJ
  9. Bill & Ted Face the Music — Warner/MGM
  10. 100% Wolf — Viva

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended Dec. 6:

  1. Unhinged — Lionsgate
  2. Buddy Games — Paramount
  3. Fatman — Paramount
  4. The New Mutants — 20th Century
  5. Elf — Warner
  6. Krampus — Universal
  7. Iron Mask — Lionsgate
  8. After We Collided — Open Road
  9. Freaky — Universal
  10. The Vanished — Paramount

 

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‘Mulan’ Returns to No. 1 Spot on Redbox Disc Rental Chart; ‘Unhinged’ Remains Atop On Demand Chart

Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan returned to the top spot on Redbox’s disc rental chart the week ended Nov. 29. It had debuted at No. 1 before slipping to No. 2 in its second week on disc.

The previous week’s top Redbox title, Lionsgate’s Unhinged, slipped to No. 2 on Redbox’s disc rental chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red kiosks, but remained No. 1 on the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital rental transactions.

The No. 3 disc rental, and No. 2 on the On Demand chart, was the newly released comedy Buddy Games, from Paramount. The movie follows a group of friends who restart their annual competitions to cheer up one of their own.

The New Mutants, from Disney-owned 20th Century Studios, slipped to No. 4 on the disc chart and No. 3 on the digital chart.

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Rounding out the top five disc rentals was Lionsgate’s Iron Mask, which debuted at No. 5.

Other new releases on the disc chart include RLJE Films’ sci-fi movie 2067, at No. 6, and Uncork’d Entertainment’s Paydirt at No. 9.

On the digital chart, newcomer Fatman, from Paramount, came in at No. 4, while Iron Mask landed at No. 5.

Universal’s Let Him Go, with Kevin Costner and Diane Lane, was No. 7.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended Nov. 29:

  1. Mulan (2020) — Disney
  2. Unhinged — Lionsgate
  3. Buddy Games — Paramount
  4. The New Mutants — 20th Century
  5. Iron Mask — Lionsgate
  6. 2067 — RLJ
  7. Bill & Ted Face the Music — Warner/MGM
  8. Antebellum — Lionsgate
  9. Paydirt — Uncork’d
  10. Chick Fight — Redbox

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended Nov. 29:

  1. Unhinged — Lionsgate
  2. Buddy Games — Paramount
  3. The New Mutants — 20th Century
  4. Fatman — Paramount
  5. Iron Mask — Lionsgate
  6. The Tax Collector — RLJ
  7. Let Him Go — Universal
  8. After We Collided — Open Road
  9. Antebellum — Lionsgate
  10. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials — 20th Century

 

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‘Mulan’ Tops Domestic Disc Sales for Second Week

Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan topped the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended Nov. 21.

It was the second consecutive week atop the charts for the film, which is based on the ancient Chinese folklore about a young woman who poses as a man to serve in the military in place of her elderly father.

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The week’s top new release was The New Mutants, from Disney-owned 20th Century Studios, which debuted at No. 4 on the overall disc sales chart and No. 2 on the Blu-ray chart. It sold 57.6% as many copies as the No. 1 title. Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 70% of its overall sales, with 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray comprising 25% of its total.

The final “X-Men” film from the Fox era, New Mutants deals with five teenagers who are trapped in an asylum while their budding powers are being evaluated, and attacked by a force that preys upon their fears. It earned $23.8 million at the domestic box office.

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The only other newcomer in the top 20 was Lionsgate’s Unhinged, at No. 14 on the overall chart and No. 16 on the Blu-ray chart. It saw 47% of its total come from Blu-ray Disc. The film stars Russell Crowe as a man who stalks a woman after a road rage incident. It earned $20.8 million at U.S. theaters over the summer.

On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Nov. 22, Unhinged debuted at No. 1, pushing Mulan to No. 2. The New Mutants debuted at No. 3.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 11-21-20
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 11-22-20
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 11-21-20
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 11-21-20
Sales Report for Week Ended 11-21-20
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 11-23-20

‘The New Mutants’ Most-Watched Movie in Homes

The New Mutants, the 13th and final installment of the popular sci-fi “X-Men” series produced under Fox, topped the weekly “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended Nov. 21, spurred by its release from 20th Century Studios and Disney Media Distribution on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray Disc and DVD, as well as through digital retailers.

The film was released theatrically in August despite many theaters still being closed. It earned a domestic box office gross of just over $23 million.

The New Mutants focuses on five young people with special powers who are forced to undergo treatment at a secret institution. But it’s soon clear that their containment is part of a much bigger battle between the forces of good and evil.

The Russell Crowe thriller Unhinged debuted at No. 2 on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart, which tracks transactional video activity (both digital and on DVD and Blu-ray Disc) compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

Unhinged, distributed by Lionsgate, also was made available for home viewing on Nov. 17, arriving in a Blu-ray combo pack (plus DVD and digital), DVD, digital and on demand. Oscar-winner Crowe stars alongside Caren Pistorius, Jimmi Simpson and Gabriel Bateman in a psychological thriller about road rage. Rachel (Pistorius) is running late to work when she has an altercation at a traffic light with a stranger (Crowe) whose life has left him feeling powerless and invisible. Soon, Rachel finds herself, and everyone she loves, the target of a man who decides to make one last mark upon the world by teaching her a series of deadly lessons.

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The two films knocked the prior week’s top title, the Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection, from Warner Bros., to No. 4.

Rounding out the top five: The romantic comedy After We Collided, from Open Road Films, at No. 3, down from No. 2 the previous week, and perennial holiday favorite Elf, from Warner Bros., at No. 5, up from No. 11.

Other holiday films on the “Watched at Home” chart included National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation at No. 10, up from No. 19; Home Alone at No. 12, down from No. 6; and Polar Express at No. 17, up from No. 20.

Also new to the chart was the 2011 film Megan Is Missing (No. 6), from Lionsgate, which went viral on TikTok in the form of a challenge to see how long viewers could watch its graphic scenes; Recon (No. 7), a thriller set in the mountains of Italy at the close of World War II, from Brainstorm Media; and The Dark and the Wicked (No. 13), from Shudder, about two siblings who return to the family home to take care of their dying father, only to be plagued by waking nightmares that lead them to suspect something evil is taking over the family.

The complete series of “Friends,” consisting of all 10 seasons of the classic sitcom, reappeared on the “Watched at Home” chart at No. 15.

  1. The New Mutants (Disney/20th Century)
  2. Unhinged (Lionsgate)
  3. After We Collided (Open Road)
  4. Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  5. Elf (Warner)
  6. Megan is Missing (Lionsgate)
  7. Recon (Brainstorm Media)
  8. Trump Card (D’Souza Media)
  9. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  10. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Warner)
  11. Antebellum (Lionsgate)
  12. Home Alone (20th Century)
  13. The Dark and the Wicked (Shudder)
  14. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  15. Friends: The Complete Series (Warner)
  16. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony Pictures)
  17. The Polar Express (Warner)
  18. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  19. Paw Patrol (Paramount/Nickelodeon)
  20. Trolls World Tour (Universal)

 

Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended Nov. 21.

 

Hulu Bowing $1.99 Monthly Promo at Midnight on Thanksgiving Through Cyber Monday

Hulu is set to launch a discounted $1.99 monthly promotion at midnight on Thanksgiving. The campaign pledges to give new and returning subscribers 12-month access to the ad-supported Hulu option, which amounts to a $48 savings over the recently reduced $5.99 monthly fee (from $7.99). The ad-free subscription plan remains priced at $11.99 monthly.

Hulu added 6.9 million subs to reach 32.5 million subs through Sept. 30 — up 27% from the previous-year period.

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Hulu’s ad-supported plan gives subscribers access to Hulu’s streaming TV library of shows such as “Family Guy,” “Law & Order: SVU” and “Golden Girls,” films like Trolls World Tour and Hulu Originals, including “Pen15,” “Little Fires Everywhere,” “Ramy,” “Animaniacs” and “The Handmaid’s Tale,” for a more than 66% savings compared the cost of a regular subscription.

New or returning subs can sign up for the limited time offer through 11:59 p.m. PT on Cyber Monday (Nov. 30) at Hulu.com. Disney, which owns Hulu, is also marketing the ad-supported option with Disney+ and ESPN+ for $12.99 monthly.

 

The New Mutants

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

20th Century;
Horror;
Box Office $23.8 million;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for violent content, some disturbing/bloody images, some strong language, thematic elements and suggestive material.
Stars Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Alice Braga, Blu Hunt, Henry Zaga, Adam Beach.

Reflecting its comic book source material, The New Mutants offers a horror-infused take on the “X-Men” franchise and its penchant for finding people with bizarre superpowers.

As a spinoff of the “X-Men” comics, the “New Mutants” series focused more on younger mutants — the people born with genes that evolved to give them superpowers — who might one day be developed into full-fledged X-Men. The book’s style took on more surreal elements than the rest of the brand, though over the years it was the book that introduced characters such as Deadpool, Cable and Domino.

The New Mutants film moves away from “X-Men” style action and leans more into the realm of Stephen King thrillers and psychological horror. The story centers on a group of teenagers locked up in an asylum for evaluation of their powers, which manifest at the onset of puberty. But they seem to be under attack by an unseen force that takes that form of what terrified them as children. As discussed by director Josh Boone in the bonus materials, the film’s story draws particular inspiration from the “Demon Bear” storyline, in which one of the kids manifests her fears into a giant bear that attacks everyone.

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The film is taut in its execution and the cast is likable, but the film’s primary obstacle is its ‘PG-13’ rating, which doesn’t allow the filmmakers to take the story as extreme as it perhaps needs to go, resulting in the intended frightfest coming off as rather bland.

They also minimize any connection to the greater “X-Men” franchise, aside from a few generalized references. That it serves mostly as a standalone film is just as well, considering the film was delayed for so long its ownership in the interim transferred to Disney through its Fox studio purchase, making this the final “X-Men” film of the old regime, aside from more “Deadpool” movies that Disney-owned Marvel Studios might want to produce.

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The Blu-ray includes 11 minutes of deleted scenes that are pretty much more of the same of what the film delivers.

There are also two featurettes running just over seven minutes: “Origins & Influences,” about how the original comic book influenced the filmmakers, and “Meet the New Mutants,” a profile of the characters and the cast behind them.

Finally, the disc includes a commentary track in which Boone interviews Bill Sienkiewicz, the comic book artist who worked on the “New Mutants” story arcs being adapted. It’s an interesting conversation about the artistic pathways taken by each man, but it’s not synched in any way to the movie itself.

Live-Action ‘Mulan’ Dominates Disc Sales Charts

Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan dominated the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended Nov. 14.

The film, a retelling of the ancient Chinese folklore about a young woman who impersonates a man in order to serve in the military so her father doesn’t have to, had been considered one of Disney’s big tentpole releases during the summer before the coronavirus pandemic derailed those plans. The film instead bypassed U.S. theaters and was released via premium VOD on Disney+.

It was then released on Blu-ray and DVD Nov. 10, just four days after the studio officially announced the disc release.

Blu-ray Disc formats (including 4K) accounted for 72% of first-week Mulan disc sales. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray accounted for 10% of the film’s total unit sales.

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The No. 2 title on both charts, Warner’s Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection, sold 44% as many copies as Mulan overall, and 37% as many Blu-rays.

The week’s only other new release to make the top 20 was MGM and Orion Pictures’ Bill & Ted Face the Music, distributed on disc by Warmer Bros. Home Entertainment. Theatrical plans for the third film in the “Bill & Ted” franchise were similarly disrupted by the pandemic, with it ultimately seeing a PVOD release alongside a limited theatrical run in which it grossed $3.4 million domestically. In its first week on disc it was the No. 20 overall seller and No. 9 on the Blu-ray chart, with the HD format accounting for 60% of its total sales.

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On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Nov. 15, Mulan debuted at No. 1, with Bill & Ted Face the Music at No. 2.

The previous week’s top rental, Lionsgate’s Antebellum, dropped to No. 3.

A couple of Redbox exclusives rounded out the top five: the newly released comedy Chick Fight at No. 4, and the thriller An Imperfect Murder at No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 11-14-20
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 11-15-20
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 11-14-20
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 11-14-20
Sales Report for Week Ended 11-14-20
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 11-16-20